It's April 1st, the only day I would be considered abnormal if I didn't tell a lie or cheat. But it is also the perfect day to open up my eyes and stop lying and cheating myself on the other 364 days of the year! This week, because the universe decided that I'll publish it on April 1st, I want to share this one insight with you that will make you start this year differently.
So why am I saying START THIS YEAR? Am I out of my mind? Don't I know that the year starts on January 1st, and NOT on April 1st? Well, I do. But a little bit of history can help me teach you something very important: you see, in the Middle Ages, up until the late 18th century, New Year's Day was celebrated on March 25 in most European towns. In some areas of France, New Year's was a week-long holiday ending on April 1. Many writers suggest that April Fools originated because those who celebrated on January 1 made fun of those who celebrated on other dates. Since a cycle is a cycle, who decides what day is the beginning of the year and what isn't? So for us, this April 1st can open up the mind and make an important change in our lives. Keep reading to find out how!
“April 1. This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three hundred and sixty-four.”
– Mark Twain
I have a particular childhood friend who is quite the fooler. I'm not sure if she fools others or if she is only fooling herself. Her story might sound familiar to many of you: every time she is dating a new guy she develops a brand new personality and outrageous hairstyle to suit her partner’s tastes. Basically, she’s Barbi with a wardrobe change to suit each changing season. I kid you not there was one colorful year she made the Gobsmacking leap from Warner Brothers Producer arm-candy with a platinum blonde “Pretty Woman” fashioned bob to a Rastafari enthusiast rocking the oh-so-fetching white girl dreadlocks. It wasn’t pretty. Invariably every time the relationship would come to an end, usually in some fuming pile of fire and brimstone, we would have our regular “post mortem drink” where she would tell me she was nothing, felt worthless, and was basically a big “fool”.
As her best friend, I remember telling her each time “Hold onto yourself. You're not a fool! You simply must get back to being the REAL you and doing all the things that YOU love to do.” But each time I was met with the same incredulous expression. The truth was she had completely given up her authentic self several years and several boyfriends ago in favor of merging into her varied partners, so my simple suggestion of returning to her authentic self, in all reality, wasn’t as simple.
It is easy to cheat others in believing you're telling the truth. Especially if it's April Fools' day. It is much harder to convince ourselves that we are cheating ourselves on a daily basis by being someone else… a person we're not meant to be.
Most of us are raised and nurtured by our parents and the outside world in such a way that by the time we reach adulthood our authentic self has been buried under a host of expectations, fears, damage, disappointments, doubts, should and shouldn'ts that we haven’t the faintest clue how to recover it. In fact, in this age of self-help fanaticism the concept of “finding your authentic self” seems like another overused catch phrase that it can make you doubt its validity. So is there such a thing as the Authentic Self? I strongly believe there is. Perhaps it has been beaten into submission and is skulking in the shadows because of past hurts and damage but it can be healed, it can be pushed back into the light where it belongs.
In my own life, I have seen this in action. A few years ago I found myself genuinely stuck. I had never experienced this feeling in my life to this extent, every day felt like Groundhog Day and the spark I had for my life appeared to be all but snuffed out. I knew what I was doing in my life was not flowing forward, so after trying and failing and a lot of beating myself up, I finally was able to see a path out of Stuckville! I discovered that when you find a way to move all the clutter out – your doubts, your worry, your expectations, your fears, your should and shouldn’t- your Authentic Self rushes in and floods every inch of your being. When you liberate yourself, your next steps seem natural and informed and guided and more and more fulfilling.
I won't take advantage of this April 1st day to lie to you and tell you that it's easy. It's not. Truth is, it is a lot easier said than done. Finding your authentic self is the work of a lifetime. For those of you who have been badly damaged by life, whether by your childhood or experiences later in life reflection can feel intimidating. It sometimes demands help to heal those old wounds and clear away misconceptions you’ve built around who you are and what you should or shouldn’t be. Therapy is a fabulous option if you are working with long standing issues and patterns. But for those of you who want to get the ball rolling, here are some wonderful Mentalizer tools (in question form) that can help you to re-discover the YOU that is most YOU! You to the max, 365 days a year, without lying or cheating yourself!
- Who can you be totally yourself around?
We all have people in our life we want to impress, sometimes we even go so far as to form a false self or a different personality to fit in with them. That’s a lot of work – quite frankly – that’s exhausting! But on the other hand, there are people who you show your true colors to. The ones who know you inside and out. The ones who know the worst thing about you and love you anyway. The ones who you can rock dirty hair and sweatpants to meet and not think twice. It’s essential to surround yourself by people who can see the true you, who love and accept you as you are, and free you to be that awesome person!
- As a kid, what did you want to be?
Every kid has a bright vision of their adult self and what they would be. Often life in the form of status, money and obligation get in the way and obscure that dream. Reconnect with that child self. Ask your parents if they can recall your childhood dreams. They might tell you things you forgotten, and you'll be surprised! I saw a video from my elementary school, where we had an event to celebrate the ending of the school-year. Each student, probably at the age of 11 or 12, said what they wanted to be when they grow up! I wanted to be a magician! A friend of mine, who is also my partner in my restaurant businesses in Israel, said he wanted to be a basketball player! Discover what your dream life would look like and then go about making it happen.
- What are the things that makes you happy?
Uncovering things you love to do is a great way to connect with your authentic self. By throwing yourself into activities you love, you will create a happy place for your authenticity to thrive. You may even decide you want to work or volunteer in the area of your favored activity. Don't stop yourself from doing the things that you always wanted to do. You don't need to wait for April Fools' day and for me to tell you this: there's no better time to pursue your passion. If you love doing something, or you want to explore new opportunities in life, this is the time. Today. April 1st. Ok, tomorrow can be a good day too. But DO IT!
- What is it you're STILL holding onto?
One of my favorite movies, of all times, was the crazy movie “Labryinth”. I often think of that hoarder troll character who has a whole mountain of garbage strapped to her back. We as people experience a lot of negative things in the course of our lives in addition to all the positive. Maybe we were told we were ugly when we were a kid, or that we were not good at something so you quit trying, maybe one of our parents left us so we felt unworthy and so we became desperate to earn everyone’s approval around us. Whatever it is that you are carrying around –DROP IT! If someone treated you badly, remember it has nothing to do with you, rather it’s a reflection of how badly they feel about themselves. LET IT GO. Move forward and bring new positive voices, thoughts, and views about yourself take their place.
These are just a few ways to get back in touch with your Authentic Self for the next 364 days. Remember, cheating yourself and believing you're on the right path when in fact you're trying so hard to be someone else, is a waste of the phenomenal person you are. How will you know that you’re on the right path? Well, you should feel at ease and at home. You’ll feel as though the universe has crafted a one-of-a-kind outfit that suits only you, with all its flaws and perfection, and it will fit like a glove.
You know what I always say – it won't happen if you won't make your thought become a reality. So take 3 seconds out of your life to share with the world and bring to life the thought you have about the better you. Tell us, in the comment section below, what you always wanted to be and how you will make the next 364 days work for you to make it a reality!